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Filaments from E3D-Online
Filament quality is integral to getting a good print, and at E3D we stock filaments chosen for their quality, reliability, and inventiveness. SpoolWorks is E3D's own in-house brand, designed to strike a balance between quality and price. While cheaper filaments are available, they often arrive unspooled and contaminated by particulates that can block and jam 3D printers. All our filaments are:
- Shipped vacuum-sealed and spooled, with a packet of desiccant
- Of the highest quality and easy to print
- Vibrant and richly-coloured to our specifications
- Designed and tested in-house at E3D
- Consistently extruded to within 5% tolerance for reliable printing
PLA is a bioplastic usually derived from corn starches. PLA melts at low temperatures, has extremely low warp, bonds easily to cold bed surfaces and generally prints with fantastic quality and no fumes. It might not be the best at demanding mechanical or thermal applications but it is cheap and easy to print with. The most popular polymer in 3D printing.
One of the most used plastics worldwide, ABS is a co-polymer of Acronitrile, Butadiene and Styrene. Lego Bricks, Car Dashes, Electronics enclosures all tend to be ABS. It's low-cost and strong, but the quality from one ABS to the next can vary wildly, and it can be smelly.
PET, PETG and related Copolyesters present a great balance of printing much more easily than ABS, but having much better mechanical and thermal performance than PLA. They also come in crystal clear variants which have the best optical clarity in the plastics world.
Composite filaments are composed of a plastic polymer bound with another material to change their appearance and or physical properties. This can take the form of attractive wood-like materials where a binder holds together wood fibres, or specialist mechanical properties obtained by adding carbon fibres to a polymer binder.
Nylons represent some of the toughest and strongest materials that can be printed. While they take a little more practice to print than other materials the rewards are huge. Inter-layer adhesion is probably the best in the 3D printing world and tensile strength is fantastic. Nylons are relatively flexible and can be used for things like living hinges with long life. Nylon is also extremely low friction and makes for great bearings, sliders and gears.
Polycarbonate is an extremely tough, strong, rigid plastic with great optical clarity. Used for demanding mechanical applications such as bullet-proof glass and safety goggles. Its great thermal resistance was why we chose it for fan ducts and why car makers use PC-ABS blends for plastics used near engines. One of the most capable plastics that can be printed, but it absolutely needs an all metal HotEnd, a heated bed that can exceed 120°C and some practice!
ThermoPlastic Elastomers ('flexible filaments') are a group of materials that can be melt processed like other plastics, but instead of being rigid they are instead elastic and rubber like. Both fun for decorative objects and toys, but we are also seeing a huge range of applications for things like seals, hinges and shock absorbers.
Acrylonitrile-styrene plastic composed of little particle-balls of acrylate rubber bound with an acrylonitrile-styrene copolymer chain matrix. While less commonly-used than ABS, ASA plastics have similar properties of strength and durability, yet it's more chemical- and weather-resistant.